Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 44- Half Way Done Training!!!!

Family I love hearing from you! Thank you for the emails.  Dad I always think of you chip sealing n this hot weather, thank you for your hard work.  Keep those guys at work safe, stuff happens ya dad.  Mom running isn't everything lol but Im sorry you couldn't run. Colby went to a high adventure? Where did he go?  How was it?  Zolly emailed and said he got to see you.  I wish I could have been there but I was glad you got to see him.  He is a great young man!  Thats cool that the Dimicks came down, I sure miss those memories but soon enough!  They all look so dang big I tell you what, it is going to be weird for me to see them!  Sarynn and Will look so dang big boy its weird for me because I think of them a year ago I just feel like life is on pause and have to remind myself that you are still pushing along back home!  I am so happy though.  You know I talk about home and get home sick sometimes but there is no place I would rather be then serving my God and helping my fellow brothers and sisters in Ghana.  I love Ghana and have such a strong testimony that Heavenly Father sends you to where you need to go, overall my personality fits this culture perfectly, we are always laughing and I love meeting new people. 
Well Training is half way over, they say times go by fast when you train, boy they weren't lying.  This week was okay, not our best week but we still gained great relationships with our investigators and had some very good lessons.  I want to share an experience that we had with the S family that I think I forgot to share with you last week.  We sat down with the family, the mother, the young boy who is 10 and the boy who is 5 and the girl is 14.  Well we had so many powerful spiritual lessons with them and they want to be baptized.  Well we taught them the book of mormon and how it was evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and if the Book is true then the only church on the face of the earth that uses it is the lords church.  Well it was so powerful, well we finished the lesson and asked them to read, pray, and ponder about the Book of Mormon.  They said that they would, well we invited to pray right then and ask God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus Christ if it was true and they again agreed.  Well the mother called on the young boy I to pray.  You should have seen this boys faith, his faith was showing so exceedingly...he didn't doubt that God wouldn't answer his prayer.  As we bowed our heads down in prayer, the spirit was so dang powerful, it was so quiet and peaceful, there was so much love in the room.  Well I began to pray and talk To Heavenly Father and he began to get quieter and quieter until we couldn't hear him, then it was silent for about 10 seconds, we never heard him ask the question but everyone in that room knew and could feel he had asked God if it was true, well he didnt end his prayer but looked up and said yep It is true, haha well I told him to finish his prayer and he did perfectly and then we explained to them that, that was the spirit telling them that it was true and the Church was true.  It was just a testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father does answer our prayers if we humble ourselves as a little Child, and I was so proud of that young boy, his faith was showing, it made me question myself, how good is my faith?  Very spiritual story.  Well they couldnt come this week they traveled because G's father had a stroke, so next week for sure. 
This week I met my wife haha but no really we received a referral from these other missionaries. So we called her right away and she told us to come on wednesday, well she called us to remind us to come and we met her at this bus stop.  Well we were kind of expecting an older woman but then this pretty girl walks up to us and says what's up, I was like hey, she was like I'm J I was like what haha we laughed about it.  She has been super prepared by the lord, and is ready to hear our message, whether she accepts it I cant say..its ghana but her phone has been switched off so we haven't been able to meet her again.  We taught her the beginning of the Restoration and she already had an LDS version of the King James bible and her youngest sister is a member, we have high hopes for her.  She wants to be a fashion designer and is very smart and is always laughing, Jensen and the Apartment we were all like Carson Baptize her then come back and marry problem haha:) 
It was my Companions birthday on Saturday.  Also Elder K is going home, I was sad about that so he wanted all the south Africans in the zone to go to this restaurant called Zoo Zoo's.  Boy it was so dang good we all got big fat cheeseburgers and fries for 10 cedi oh my gosh I was in Heaven it was so dang good.  Also Elder Jensens girlfriend was our waitress she was pretty and she said she wants to make half cast with Jensen and was trying to kiss him haha it was so funny,  Then after that we got fed some mean Jollof Rice at a members then we went to G's house and she gave us some mean fufu boy it was a great day!!
Every Saturday as missionaries we go and clean the church.  The past missionaries in this area were terrible and caused a lot of bad tension in the ward but Elder Clark and our district has really changed it and turned it around. The members are so happy now and stay and all take pictures after church it is great.  Anyway we cleaned the church to help the members know that we are there to serve them.  Well as we were cleaning the second counselor to the bishopric asked me to give a talk on sunday.  Well I prepared all night and he asked me to speak on recognizing the holy ghost and the role it plays.  Here in Ghana the people think the holy ghost is dancing, clapping, singing and excitement it was a great opportunity to talk to the whole ward about the spirit and the role it plays.  I shared with them the story of I and explained the spirit very well.  Well everyone was listening and It was very good, the spirit was pretty strong...not trying to toot my own horn but it was good.  As I spoke it was really quiet in the congregation and I said Brothers and Sisters this is the spirit.  It was great.  People visit our church and say this church is boring, and if they only understood this concept of the spirit they would know so it was a great opportunity for me to speak to them.  After I had a ton of compliments from the members, most said when are you going home, and a lot said that was the first time they had felt the spirit that strong, and one man said that is the first time he has seen someone speak with real power and authority.  I was really happy with the outcome.
Well Its affliction week this week, so Im going to be living on rice and stew for a while and some eggs haha but other than that nothing really hard has happened.  The work is the same and everything is still sweet.  Mt didn't come to church again but we still love her.  For me personally I think she knows its true and is just fighting it.  She didnt go to her church either because she didn't feel like it haha so we will see.  She is like our mother though I tell you what.  She calls us her sons and loves us.  It is nice to have a woman like her here.  She is so honest too I love it.  I love her tons!!!
Kwado Asamoah didn't come dang it.  His club ball coach resigned so he had to go to Italy and discuss contract detail with other clubs but he said in a few weeks he will come so we will be excited for that. 
Well Mom, Dad and Colby!! All is well, I am happy, enduring and having a ton of fun. I am missing you guys everyday and its hard for me to see  Colby grow up and not be there to enjoy it with him but at least I get his senior year.  I love you guys tons!  Im proud to be a Carson. I thank you so much for teaching me integrity and self respect.  I love my family!!
Love you guys tons!!!
Elder Carson
Elder Duke

The trainers for the new missionaries

Elder Carson with his trainee (Elder Luvhengo) from South Africa

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 43- 7 investigators at church, What Up!!!!!

Hey Mom, Dad and Colby!!! It sounds like summer is just moving along and it’s getting a little hotter every day, I feel ya trust me.  Mom it sounded like you had a great week with the matheny's.  Dang Sarynn and Will are getting so dang big...holy smokes I can't believe it, it’s really weird to me.  Yeah mom for sure imagine that day I pull into burley, there will be a lot of tears shed that day of happiness.  Dad I understand you I am being safe. Colb man dude that’s so sick man, going to be in a Cummins your junior year, boy that’s cool bro, proud of you boss.  Grandma told me about that guy that said what do you know when you were picking up wakeboarders, freaking jerk tell him I know I got a brother in Africa that would beat you haha no next time just throw him off the back and tell him to swim.  Proud of you little brother.  

Boy this week was really good.  It amazes me how the Lord prepares people for His gospel.  You know when my companion and I had nobody, no less active, no investigators...nothing, we didn't know what to do but I have a sure testimony that Heavenly Father has blessed us in this area.  This week we had a good week taught some good lessons and had as much fun as we could.  We are teaching this woman named M, I’m not sure if you remember her.  She is an older woman, really wealthy but anyway she called us over one day and asked us about the plan of salvation.  I guess previously she had visited the church for a funeral and had a lot of questions.  Well we have been visiting her and we have really gained a love for one another it has been super cool to just gain that relationship.  Now when we come she feeds us ,gives us drinks and just takes care of us, she is like our mother in this area.  Well I kept telling my companion that she would take time to come to the church but one day she would come.  Well we had a very spiritual lesson with her on Friday.  Well as we were teaching I can't tell you but I just felt we need to tell this woman we love her and want what’s best for her.  Well I said Ma, we love you and want this gospel to be a part of your should have seen her heart being softened...her response was what time does church start on Sunday, we told her ten.  Well on Saturdays we always plan for fellow-shippers to fellowship our investigators.  Well I said who should we have for M and my companion still new said I don't think she will come and I was just like well just in case.  Well when we showed up at the church he was like Elder Carson NO WAY and he gave me a five and they were there, it definitely topped my week off, it was so dang special.  That reminds me, I know missionaries don’t really bring investigators to our ward but if someone new comes I beg you with all my heart to go to that person and warmly invite them to sit by you,  I can't tell you enough how much it helps us as missionaries.  Imagine there situation, it’s like walking into a new life, and it helps when they know they have a friend to help them.  This Sunday we sang Joseph First Prayer except we sang it with the tune of come thou font.  My companion plays the piano and it was so dang good.  The spirit was so dang strong.  We did a bunch of mixing it up and practiced it very good, I didn't record it but we are doing it again except with the sisters this Sunday so I will record that one.  It was so cool I led us and everyone was just watching me and I was like Grandma would be so dang proud.  It was so cool as we were singing I couldn't see people but the other missionaries said people were crying, people were just in awwwww boy you guys would have loved it.  As we were singing the congregation was singing as well just quiet though and we had a couple things we added as missionaries and so we went quiet one time and they were still singing it made me laugh, I was like I love Ghana and when they said the full time missionaries are going to sing a song the second counselor to president hill just stood up and sang with us haha it was funny.  When we finished some people had some silent claps going on and then a lot of people were like Elder Carson you can lead huh haha I was like you betcha this is what the lord has sent me to do haha.  Literally people were crying boy it was so dang good.  This week the reason we are singing on Sunday is Kwado Asamuah a midfielder for the Black Stars Ghanas football team is going to come for a fireside on Sunday. I am going to buy a black stars jersey and have him sign it.  He is a member, his father is a bishop we are pumped to hear him speak, President Hill set it up. This week we had 7 investigators at church.  The S Family CAME BOY I WAS PUMPED, I was floating on Cloud nine at sacrament.   The boys loved it, they loved primary, and I don't think Mrs. S stopped smiling.  I was so happy, they told us they may move but we are going to get them all baptized before that day.  Something hard this week was yeah nothing really; it was a pretty normal week.  

Well Mom, Dad, and Colby.  Thank you so much for the emails.  I thank you for taking the time to email me every week.  I really appreciate it, it means a lot to me to have a family email me every week.  I feel truly blessed.  I love you guys tons!!!!

Love you guys!!!

Elder Carson

Taylor's Zone

Monday, July 7, 2014

Week 42- Dang missed the 4th!!!!

Hey Family!!! It sounded like you had a great week!  I sure missed the 4th of July and our camping trips but only one more to miss after this one, and by that point I will be coming home. Thank goodness.  It sounded like some good ole white trash you find in Idaho.  Boy that sounded like something you would see in a movie your experience at the river.  Like since I have been in Ghana for so long I may have said something...Ghanaians always have to voice their opinion and love being vocal haha I can catch myself doing it sometimes, me and some Ghanaians will get in yelling matches but then after we laugh and are friends I love these people.  Dang mom getting wild on the bike again haha wow that sounded like it would have been funny to see.  It’s weird for me not to be there because I would have been behind the pack haha but that would have been funny to see.  Colby is getting fast huh like his brother...still got some catching up to do though if he wants to compete with me haha. Overall I am glad you guys had a great week this week.  Mom take more pictures I love them seriously!!  

This week went by so dang fast again. The weeks are flying by, they say when you train that’s what happens and its true, boy they are going by so dang fast.  This week was really good it was somehow short and not a whole lot to talk about but it was a great week.  My companion and I just about know where every member stays in our area.  We have been working super hard and just trying our best.  We had our best week with 3 investigators at church this week and are doing really well.  I am so proud of my when you are training the mission culture I guess is to call your trainee your son, it makes sense and we all do it, I didn't like it at first but now I do.  Yeah Elder Luvhengo is doing really great, he is progressing so dang fast, I am so proud of him.  I told him he will be ready to train by the end of these two transfers, and I think he will be able to.  We are getting along great and doing really well.  This week we got rained out a couple days but we still worked hard and had a great week.  We contacted this lady I think on Wednesday and she was like I see you almost every day what do you do.  So my companion explained it to her and then she was like come to my house, so we followed her to her house and she made us jollof rice and bought us a coke, she was such a kind woman and we are hoping to continue to teach her and bring those blessing of the gospel in her life.  There was also this old man we contacted who is a member of Christ Apostolic church and we taught him and it’s so cool to see this man light up when we visit him, by the time we finished our message and left his house him and myself were linked arm in arm as he saw us off, it really made me realize the importance of having Charity for those you are trying to help understand the gospel.  Oh yeah in Ghana the culture is when a guest comes to your house you always "see them off" or walk them a little ways before you leave I really love that and will do that when I am at home but we won't have to walk very far because everyone has cars haha but I love that about the culture.  Well Sunday was such a great fast and testimony Sunday.  Dang I get all riled up when I am writing and I forget about things.  The S family I shared about with you last week, made such a strong  commitment to come to church on Sunday when we had a lesson on Saturday but they didn't come my companion and I were so dang devastated.  Saturday when we taught them we had such a great lesson, it was the most spiritual lesson I have taught on the mission.  The younger boy who is 10 asked us what exaltation was...that was a first for me haha and then we extended a date to the boy and the younger girl and when I extended it I said "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by your father who has the priesthood authority of god?"  They about jumped with joy, they both looked at their father and wow they accepted so eagerly, then I looked at their father who is Less Active and started explaining the reason I extended this commitment and then I said now brother S in order to have this opportunity to baptize your children into the lords church you have to renew your covenants each week and exercise your priesthood and I asked will you do that and he agreed but they didn't come boy I was so discouraged.   We are praying for them this week though!   Sunday was so nice and beautiful.  I love rainy season it is so cool here now, it’s still 85 to 90 degrees but it feels so cool, I actually sleep with my blanket and turn my fan down haha boy it’s been nice.   The reason I said that was on Sunday it was raining when we were at church and it was just so nice.  I love the testimonies here as well they are so strong and powerful and it seems that everyone wants to share theirs it’s pretty neat.  After church we ate fufu at a less actives house and that was good, but then we met as a district and cooked some steaks we bought at shop-rite and cooked up some Idahoan potatoes and boy it was such a great meal.  We really had a ton of fun with the district.  We all get along pretty good and it was such a great dinner.  Nothing like home but pretty dang close!!!    Yeah so there was my week sorry there is no flow but at first I didn't know what the heck to write about.  Oh yeah have you heard of this book 7 years in Hanoi, it’s about a guy from burley who was a POW in the Vietnam War?  My companion had it, he is a member as well and so I was wondering if grandpa knew him or anything?  (This book is about my best friends, Cindy Shaw's Uncle.  His name is Larry Chesley.  What a small world that a missionary from South Africa brings a book written by a man that grew up in Burley, Idaho where his companion is from)

Colby, Dad, and Mom I sure love you guys so dang much and miss you like crazy.  I am keeping my head up and always being prepared for the worst.  Ghana is safe though don't worry.  But family I sure love you guys so dang much and miss you all like crazy!!! I am so glad you had a great week.  Be sure to be safe!! I love you guys so dang much. Don't ever forget this church is Jesus Christ’s church!!

Love you Guys tons!!!

Elder Duke

Fourth of July dinner in Ghana

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Week 41- Fast Week Boy!!!!

Hey Family!!! This week was probably one of my fastest weeks in the mission.  While you are training and worrying about him, about your investigators and the ward boy you stay pretty busy.  It sounded like you all had a good week.  Where is Colby even working now?  Dad I always think of you as well when I am here in this hot sun, thank you Dad for your hard work.  I was thinking about how bad I am going to be at riding when I go home but I do want to do that rock creek trail again I love those mountains.  Mom it sounded like you had a great week spending time with connor, cami and the family.  Take in every minute, chii after you go to a third world country and away from your family, boy you always want to be with them.  I had a dream I came home last night boy I woke up crying haha I will be happy for that day. 
This week was sick.  It was weird everything just fell into place this week.  Our mission has really been focusing on getting Member Present Lessons so we really focused on that and had some really great lessons with members. This week I went on an exchange with Elder Clark and we had a great day, he is from Eagle Idaho.  For my Companion and I we have been praying for Less Active and we have been able to find three in the past two weeks, Heavenly Father has really blessed us!  Well Elder Clark and I went to do a baptismal interview with my investigator Papa Yaw and while we were there a small boy came up to us and said my mom wants you to come and teach us.  So we had him direct us to his house and come to find out his dad is a less active and we had such a spiritual lessson with them.  The mother was just in awww and everyone was just smiling, she invited us back on friday so we came and she had a Ghanian Dish prepared for us Banco and Granut soup boy and we had another great lesson!  We are going to take bishop to see them ...great family.  We are planning on baptizing a young boy this saturday.  His uncle is a member and he has came to church for about 9 months now and wants to be baptized.  I hate baptizing small boys but he has a fellowshipper and he wants to so I am happy for him.  He is so dang funny he is a little slow but loves the church.   We as well taught a boy we contacted with a member, his name was J, he is around 20 and a very smart young man.  We took a ward missionary with us and had a great lesson.  You should see all the churches here awww there are so many and the pastors give the people the mentality that all churches are fine as long as they serve God and worship Jesus man its so dang frustrating helping them understand that there is only one true church!! Anyway this young boy is very smart but his Dad has brainwashed him pretty bad.  When I met him he was dressed very nice and is very rich, pastors do well here, but anyway I introduced my self as Elder which I have been given the authority to have and then he said my name is R B and I said oh brother B and he said oh Im not a brother I'm a senior Apostle haha I kind of snickered and I was like boy I wish Packer was here haha we had a great lesson with the boy and he was very receptive!  
Its amazing how truly blessed we are back home. We have an investigator whose husband is a member and their house has been flooding because of rainy season boy it has been super hard on them it makes me so sad for them, if i ever get ungrateful again I'm a very selfish person, here you see real poverty and you see people starving, count your blessings ladies and gentlemen!  Oh yeah I saw a man cooking a cat the other day my companion was like Lou Lou haha it made us laugh, I have no  Idea what meat I have ate haha oh boy pussy cat chii only in Ghana!
This week haha something very funny was we were at a members house and she was going to feed us so we were just chilling.  Well it was light off so we were eating outside and we were eating our food on these trays.  Well I was petting this Cat and it was getting a little wild, its claws were out and stuff so I threw it at my companions leg, he had his tray in his hands and he screamed like a little girl and threw his hands in the air boy I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time.  The family has three little girls and they were inside and they were like was that a girl haha it made us all laugh pretty hard!
Family I am so happy, I am working hard and trying my best to bring blessing into your lives!! I sure miss you guys all a ton!  I love you three so dang much, thank you so much for taking the time to email me, I truly feel blessed! Stay healthy, stay strong and give thanks always to our heavenly father!

I love you guys tons!!!
Elder Duke

Week 40- Time Flies!!!!!

Hey family, boy I'm pooped today, we went to this sport complex thing with the zone and played football and basketball it was so much fun but I'm exhausted haha boy I’m out of shape!  We played USA vs Africans last week with our district and so we had to rematch today, we won last week and drew today but our district is really great.  Elder Jensen and I have been able to play some catch and that has been great just to throw a little he is a stud he reminds me of Jaxon Knopp so dang much haha.  That’s crazy Kyle is leaving it seems too early but I'm sure proud of that guy he will be a great missionary!  It sounded like everyone had a pretty normal week and the BBQ looked like a ton of fun!  I wish I could have been there but we will do one when I get home, I'm just happy you guys had a good time and had fun.  The family looks great, we are soo redneck haha it made me laugh, people always laugh at me here sometime with my Idaho redneck accent haha it has been a blast.  I have to say I feel totally adjusted to Ghana the other day I was walking and it was 90 degrees and I felt fine and I was like wow this is a miracle I just feel like I know Ghanaians and how to handle any situation they throw at me!  I love you guys Tons!! 

This week was great, a new area and we have just been trying to find people the lord has prepared for us, we feel that we have found a couple.  We are preparing a young boy for baptism and a teenager as well and some others.  One of the hardest thing this week for me was politics of mission, President has been stressing so he is starting to put more stress on our numbers, I was pretty fired up but there is a valuable lesson Mom has taught me and that is to never make a decision out of anger so I just slept on it and called president a little later and we worked it out, words of advice to missionaries coming on a mission haha know your purpose and be committed.  My companion is great, I don’t know why it changed but I know that I was supposed to be this young man’s companion.  The other day when we were about to go to bed my companion was like Elder Carson I love you man ha it was pretty cool.  He is doing really great, he is pretty scared but I have been helping out and all has been good he is doing great!  So this week something awesome happened, my companion and I have been praying for Less Actives that we can meet and we have been praying and asking members and then one day my companion was like lets go down this road so we did and then a guy contacted us and he said I am currently in Oliver Cowdry's position and he introduced us to his family and we have a Family home evening set up on Thursday it was pretty cool...prayers in our Heavenly Father.  The mission teaches you so many life lessons if you allow it to just change and mold you into the man your heavenly father wants you to become. Remember this is the lords work!  This week as well we had a woman contact us last week and had so many questions she had visited the church for a funeral and all they talked about was the plan of salvation.  She is great, and has a ton of questions; stubborn lady but we love her.  We gave her a book of Mormon and have explained it to her well we saw her three days later and she was in 2 nephi haha pretty wild, her name is M, she is around 60 and lost her husband 15 years ago and we have high hopes for her, she is very wealthy. As well we met another woman named N she was a sister to a member who just passed away last month.  She called us over and we had a great lesson and she accepted a baptismal date with eagerness so we are hoping she comes to church this Sunday!  It was pretty wild but this week we contacted a man and he invited us in and had some questions and I discerned that he wasn’t too serious but I wanted my companion to gain some experiences teaching the Restoration so he taught him but towards the end of the lesson my heart just hurt like after you do something very wrong, so I wrapped it up and got out of there.  Well we decided to go and see him again for a follow up and I asked him if we could learn outside he denied so again we went in and we taught him, and again that feeling came again, and there are pictures of Christ and things so I was just like tay your being paranoid but then a woman comes out and just glares at us and I greet her and she tells us to get out basically and gets mad but the man was like don’t mind this woman continue so my companion continued but then that feeling was still there and I was like we got to get out of here so I wrapped it up and was out of there in 2 minutes.  I don’t know what it was but we aren’t welcome in that home by whomever.  Like the first time we were there when we prayed I prayed with my eyes open and it was wild, my companion and I talked about it after our second lesson and he was like my heart feels bad bro and I told him that’s the spirit telling us to leave so it was a good lesson for both of us, all is well, just glad I am worthy to have the spirit to help me!  

The World Cup is here baby and its wild, to say the least it’s so hard to teach a lesson between 4-10 pm because there are matches haha but its been a blast.  When we played Ghana we were at an FHE and we had to stay indoors or we may have run into issues, it’s so wild here they love football.  There are big screens with projectors outside with every match and everyone is in the streets, its been a blast.  When Ghana played Germany some investigators were watching it on this big projector so they called us over, so we sat down with about 40 Ghanaians and they loved it when I sat down with them, I got them all laughing and we enjoyed Ghana Drawing with them.  When we scored we all just started running in the streets clapping, yelling, and hugging each other it was sick, so much fun.  When Ghana played usa me and Jensen were going crazy, Ghana was crying almost haha its been a blast!  

Well Family All is well!! I love you guys so dang much! I am so proud of my family, I always feel so blessed to have such a great family.  We thank our Heavenly Father for our great memories and blessings we have received!  Mom, Dad, And Colb I love you guys Tons!! The Church is true please I beg you with all my heart to never doubt it! I have had the opportunity to sit down with every type of faith and defend this church, this church is true!!! Please remember members aren’t true but the church is and I pray that we will all take the time to read our scriptures I have gained a new love for them, I feel terrible if I don’t read them every day!  Mom there is a talk in the last conference by the young women counselor I think, it was the first women in the conference magazine to talk, it really helped me answer your question you had last week, or needed help with!! I love you guys so dang much!!!!:) 

I love you guys tons!